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Naval Visits

December 11, 1945: (Correspondence) HMS "MALTA"

Sir, - I understand that there has been a long-standing debate appearing in your newspaper regarding the failure of the Royal Navy to commission a ship bearing the name of the oft-quoted "unsinkable aircraft carrier".

It was with the utmost delight that I noticed when reading through an article by Mr Francis E. MeMurtrie published in War Illustrated Vol. 9, No 217, page 358, that such a project has indeed become a reality.

Your readers will be interested to know that an aircraft carrier bearing the name "Malta" is now under construction.

Anthony Sanderson,

Floriana, Dec. 1, 1945.

(Note. The aircraft carrier "Malta' was cancelled shortly after the above letter was published).

November 28, 1947: HMS "ILLUSTRIOUS" RETURNS

This morning at 8 o'clock HMS Illustrious (Captain R.A.B. Edwards, RN) arrives in Malta from Portsmouth and enters Grand Harbour to berth at Parlatorio Wharf for the first time since that memorable occasion nearly six years ago.

Her voyage this time is under vastly different circumstances: she left Portsmouth on November 21 with 2,000 ratings ... to relieve National Service men serving with the Mediterranean Fleet...

It is gratifying to note that the arrival of the reliefs is an indication of the Admiralty's intention of maintaining the Mediterranean Fleet as strong as possible in the present manning crisis.

To accommodate the 2,000 reliefs as well as her own ship's company, the Illustrious was fitted out with hammock-slinging facilities for 1,300 men in her hangars and meals were served in two sittings of 1,000 each.

Illustrious is expected to sail from Malta for Portsmouth on December 3, arriving on December 11.


The Royal Navy Air Station at Hal Far is open to visitors this afternoon for an air display and exhibition by the Mediterranean Air Command, by kind permission of Vice-Admiral C.E. Douglas-Pennant, Flag Officer (Air) Mediterranean.

The exhibition's primary purpose is to demonstrate to the public in Malta, and particularly the youth organisations, something of the present trend in naval aviation. Over 12 different types of aircraft will be seen...

Tuesday, December 16, 1952: HELICOPTER FOR MALTA

What are believed to be the first helicopters to serve on the Mediterranean Station will be unloaded from the carrier Perseus when she enters Marsaxlokk at 7 a.m. tomorrow.

There are three helicopters of the Sikorsky Dragonfly type earmarked for offloading at Malta, and it is possible that they will be divided between the carrier Ocean and H.M.S. Falcon.

Thursday, December 18, 1952: HELICOPTER DEMONSTRATION

From approximately 8.30 a.m. today there is to be a formation flying display in the Grand Harbour area by three Sikorsky S56 helicopters if 848 Squadron Royal Navy. The helicopters belonging to a unit which is en route to Singapore for service in the Far East, will in all probability give demonstrations of their manoeuvrability in the harbour area, besides formation work over Malta.

The helicopters yesterday gave proof of their capabilities to Service personnel at H.M.S. Falcon.

Saturday, February 14, 1953: EAGLE AT MALTA

The Fleet aircraft carrier H.M.S. Eagle (Captain A.N.C. Bingley O.B.E.) flagship of Rear-Admiral J. Hughs Hallett, Flag-Officer Heavy Squadron, arrived yesterday for a period of flying training with her air group. Eagle, one of the Royal Navy's biggest carriers, was accompanied by the fast anti-submarine frigates Venus (Captain C.C. Martell D.S.C. Captain F6) and Virago (Commander J.C. Stodart).

This was Eagle's debut in Malta waters, and she made an impressive sight for hundreds of watchers on the Barrakkas as she wheeled in at speed through the breakwater arms, to round up in workmanlike fashion in Bighi Bay.

As naval helicopters from Eagle and H.M.S. Falcon flew over and around the aircraft carrier, she fired a 17-gun salute to the flag of Admiral Lord Mountbatten, Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean. The Commander-in-Chief's flagship, the cruiser Glasgow, returned the salute.

As Eagle berthed and "middled up" helicopters flew up and down Grand Harbour below the Barrakkas, cine-cameramen leaning out from the side exits with their cameras whirring. Eagle can accommodate about 100 aircraft and displaces 45,000 tons full load. Her wartime complement is stated to be in the region of 2,750 officers and men. Both Eagle and her sister ship the new Ark Royal are stated to be 90 per cent welded construction. The two carriers in the Ark Royal are the largest British aircraft carriers ever built.


All warships in harbour half-masted their colours yesterday afternoon during the funeral at sea of the late Petty Officer Stoker mechanic J. R. Waltham of the aircraft carrier H.M.S. Indomitable who died of injuries received in the petrol explosion aboard the carrier recently. Waltham's body was committed to the sea from the anti-submarine frigate H.M.S Verulam. This brings the total of deaths as a result of the explosion to nine.

Sunday, February 22, 1953: Visit Eagle today

Britain's biggest aircraft carrier in service with the Royal Navy today, HMS Eagle of 45,000 tons displacement full load and a speed of over 30 knots, is open to visitors at her Grand Harbour berth today. From 2 to 5 p.m. the ship's boats will call at the Customs House steps, Valletta, to carry all who wish to take this opportunity to inspect the new giant.

Eagle can operate 100 aircraft and carries attacker, skyraider, and Firefly planes, and a complement of over 2,000 officers and ratings. She is the first aircraft carrier in Britain's fleet to have a normal complement of jet fighters. Sailors will conduct visitors round the ship and undoubtedly many hundreds will accept and enjoy Eagle's hospitable "come up and see us" this afternoon.


The light aircraft-carrier H.M.S. Warrior (Captain P.J. Milner-Barry) entered Grand Harbour yesterday morning for temporary duty on the Mediterranean Station. On arrival Warrior berthed at 7 berth, near the old Power Station.

Warrior was used extensively during 1948-49 as a trials carrier fitted with a flexible deck for operating fast jet fighters equipped with skid undercarriages instead of the conventional wheel type landing gear.

In 1950 she was earmarked to serve as a Stokers' Training Ship when she went to the Far East on trooping duties. Like the others of her class Warrior is insulated for tropical service and is partially air-conditioned. She is reported to have space to operate up to over 40 aircraft, and her peace time complement exclusive of Air Group personnel, is reported to be in the region of 850 officers and men.

October 31, 1954: HM ships open to visitors

The aircraft-carrier HMS Triumph and the destroyer HMS Chevron will be open to visitors this afternoon from 1.30 to 4.30. HMS Triumph is berthed in Grand Harbour and HMS Chevron in Sliema Creek.

Sunday, February 6, 1955: Airlift

Helicopters carried ashore eight naval airmen and more than 3,000 pounds of freight from the British aircraft-carrier Centaur in the storm early yesterday. Winds of over 80 m.p.h., the highest for 24 years, prevented Britain's two angled-decked carriers Centaur and Albion from entering harbour. The helicopters carried out a shuttle service to Luqa Airfield to transport men and freight of the 820 Naval Air Squadron.
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